Mohamed Salah signs new longterm Liverpool deal

Mohamed Salah has pledged his long-term future to Liverpool by signing a new deal with the English Premier League club.
Salah scored 44 goals in 52 appearances for Liverpool after joining the club from Italian side Roma last June on a five-year contract in a deal worth $49 million.
The 26-year-old helped Liverpool finish fourth in the Premier League and reach the Champions League final in his first season at the club.

No details of the length of Salah’s contract or financial package have been released by Liverpool.
“I think this news can be seen for what it is; rewarding a person who performed and contributed greatly for the team and the club last season,” Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp told the club’s website.
“It demonstrates two things very clearly also — his belief in Liverpool and our belief in him.
“We want world-class talent to see they have a home at Anfield where they can fulfil all their professional dreams and ambitions — we are working hard together to achieve this.

Salah scored 44 goals in 52 games for Liverpool last season.
“When someone like Mo Salah commits and says this place is my home now, it speaks very loudly I think.”
Salah was the standout star during last year’s Premier League season, winning a host of personal accolades.
As well as winning the Golden Boot after finishing the campaign as the league’s top scorer, he was also voted as the Player of the Year by his fellow professionals and the country’s football writers.

Mo Salah’s boots on display at the British Museum
So successful was Salah that a pair of his boots were included in a display at the British Museum’s Egypt project in London.
READ: Salah — he’s like the Sphinx and the Pyramids
READ: A day in the life of Mo Salah
Salah, who was part of the Egypt side eliminated at the group stage of the World Cup, will be hoping to repeat his heroics when the new Premier League season kicks off on August 11.
“Mo reflects where we are as a team, I think. Last season was special with many special moments – but we want more,” Klopp added
“We want to be more successful and achieve more together — as the supporters sang so loudly, ‘we’re never gonna stop’. This has to be the attitude individually and collectively.”

Neymar on target as Brazil defeats Mexico to reach World Cup last eight

In a World Cup which has had little respect for pedigree, Brazil made sure it did not become the latest heavyweight to fall with a 2-0 win over Mexico to reach the quarterfinals in Russia.
After being largely contained in the first half, a goal from Neymar after the break — the 57th for his country — and a late tap-in from substitute Roberto Firmino ended Mexico’s participation in a tournament to which it has contributed much.

The result means that for the seventh successive tournament El Tri has been knocked out in the last 16.
Meanwhile Brazil, the favorites to win the competition, extended its unbeaten run to 15 games and will now prepare to face Belgium or Japan in the last eight.
READ: Russia stuns Spain with penalty shootout win
No surprises in Samara
While history pointed to a Brazilian win — Mexico lined up at the Samara Arena having never beaten the Brazilians at the World Cup — this has been a tournament of surprises.
Reputation and past successes have counted for little, as Mexico coach Juan Carlos Osario pointed out during the pre-match build-up.
Spain, Argentina and Portugal have all followed reigning champions Germany through the trap door, with Mexico the first to wound the Germans with a mesmerizing 1-0 win in the group stages.

Achieving a victory over A Selecao would have stunned like no other in Russia so far. However, this proved to be a shock beyond El Tri.
The five-time champion was not for toppling, eventually beating its opponent with ease for the 25th time in 42 meetings.

Having been stifled early on in the contest, Neymar — the world’s most expensive player — grew into the game and was more influential than he had been in the group stages, scoring his 11th goal in 19 internationals and assisting Firminho.
But while he impressed on the ball, his reaction to Miguel Layun stepping on his ankle when the Mexican went to retrieve the ball late in the second half did seem over top.
The Mexico full-back’s studs appeared to make contact with Neymar, who was on the ground when the incident happened. But having wriggled around as if in agony after his brush with Layun, the Paris Saint-Germain forward got up without apparent discomfort once it was clear the Mexican would not be punished.
It was a reaction that would draw the ire of fans on social media.

Neymar receives treatment in the second half
Mexico tire after early promise
While Neymar’s influence on the match would eventually prove decisive, momentum was with Mexico in the early stages. El Tri’s attacking trio of Javier Hernandez, Carlos Vela and Hirving Lozano were particularly testing for Tete’s men down the flanks and forcing Brazil into retreat.
Opportunity arose for Hector Herrera in the 21st minute, but the defender took one touch too many when a first-time effort would have threatened.
Javier Hernandez of Mexico collides with Alisson of Brazil.
Javier Hernandez of Mexico collides with Alisson of Brazil.
From there on, Brazil switched into action.
Neymar provided a glimpse of his talents with a weaving run into the box, while Gabriel Jesus and Philippe Coutinho took aim, forcing Guillermo Ochoa into action in the Mexico goal.
Though it was a goalless first half, it was an intriguing contest and a breakthrough came soon after the break.
Neymar opens the scoring against Mexico.
Neymar opens the scoring against Mexico.
Moments after Mexico’s Jesus Gallardo finished a marauding run with a wayward shot from distance, Brazil nabbed the opener when Neymar tapped in a low cross from the impressive Willian.
There was to be no rest for Ochoa as Brazil quickly threatened to cut loose. The Mexican goalkeeper saved from Paulinho and Willian, withstanding a flurry of attacks to keep his team in contention.
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But as the match progressed Mexico tired in sweltering conditions and any hopes of an upset ended when Neymar created space down the left and put Firmino through for an easy goal.
It was a deserved victory for a Brazilian side which, for all its attacking might, kept a clean sheet for a ninth successive game.

Belgium completes stunning comeback to eliminate Japan

Belgium completed a stunning second-half comeback to rescue its World Cup hopes and crush those of Japan in Rostov-on-Don.
With the “Samurai Blue” leading 2-0 after 52 minutes, it looked as though the Red Devils’ star-studded squad would be the latest to bite the dust after a long line of upsets in Russia.

However, headers from Jan Vertonghen and Marouane Fellaini hauled Belgium level, before a stunning counterattack saw Nacer Chadli snatch a dramatic last gasp winner with the last kick of the game.
Belgium will now play Brazil on Friday in a much-anticipated quarterfinal clash.
Defeat was a cruel outcome for a Japan side that was smooth in possession, incisive in attack and brave in defense all evening.
With the game scoreless at halftime, Akira Nishino’s team began to take control at the beginning of the second period — scoring two quickfire goals to leave the Belgians staring down the barrel.
Striker, Genki Haraguchi, opened the scoring with an accurate strike into the bottom corner after being played through by Gaku Shibasaki.
And before Belgium had chance to process going behind, Japan had doubled its lead.
Kagawa showed some neat footwork on the edge of the area before popping a pass off to Inui. Taking one touch to move the ball out of his feet, the play-maker struck sweetly to find the far corner past the flailing arm of Thibault Courtois in goal.
Genki Haraguchi of Japan celebrates with teammates after opening the scoring against Belgium.
Genki Haraguchi of Japan celebrates with teammates after opening the scoring against Belgium.
Belgium looked shell-shocked, as did manager Roberto Martinez who was stood passively in the technical area locked in confused conversation with assistant Graeme Jones.
But it was a moment of inspiration, or perhaps just sheer good fortune, that got Belgium back into the game.
Inui’s wild clearance in the box following a Belgium corner launched the ball 20 feet into the air. Vertonghen watched it come down onto his head and looped the ball over keeper Eiji Kawashima and into the top corner.
Incredibly, the Belgians were level within minutes.
Captain Eden Hazard put an inviting cross into the box and Marouane Fellaini outmuscled Gen Shoji to head past Kawashima.
Marouane Fellaini of Belgium scores his team's second goal past Eiji Kawashima of Japan.

during the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia Round of 16 match between Belgium and Japan at Rostov Arena on July 2, 2018 in Rostov-on-Don, Russia.

Marouane Fellaini of Belgium scores his team’s second goal past Eiji Kawashima of Japan.
Belgium had never won a last 16 World Cup match inside 90 minutes and as the clock ticked down it looked increasingly likely that this game was to be decided by extra time or penalties.
But with just seconds remaining, a rapid counter-attack saw Belgium complete its remarkable comeback.
Nacer Chadli was in the right place as Thomas Meunier’s low cross arrived at his feet to calmly slot home.
Celebrations and commiserations
Belgium’s players and bench celebrated wildly. And there was more than a hint of relief that this “golden generation” of players hadn’t thrown away another shot at tournament glory.
Japan barely had time to restart the game as referee Malang Diedhiou blew his whistle for full time.
There was a mixture of shock and despair on the Japanese players’ faces. Some beat the ground, while others sat in stunned silence.
In the crowd, fans bedecked in Japanese blue could not hold back their tears.

A Japan’s fan cries after defeat to Belgium.

Belgium boss Martinez later acknowledged his side had been fortunate but told reporters that in the World Cup “it’s about getting through, it’s about winning.”
That point of view seemed to be appreciated in the Belgian capital of Brussels where thousands of supporters at a public screening of the match greeted the victory with joyous celebrations.
Those fans, and their heroes in Russia, now have a quarterfinal against tournament favorites Brazil to look forward to.

Forget the football, Vladimir Putin is the real World Cup winner

The Russian leader has played statesman since the beginning of the tournament, playing host to presidents and prime ministers.
More than 2.5 million tickets have been allocated to fans from Russia and around the world, showcasing his country as a tourist destination.
And the Russian national team — which went into the tournament as the lowest-ranked side — has performed beyond all expectation.
The World Cup has also raised Putin’s geopolitical profile. In a meeting with the Russian President in Moscow on Wednesday, US national security adviser John Bolton complimented Putin, telling him he was eager to learn “how you handled the World Cup so successfully, among other things.”
That’s more than just a diplomatic nicety. In terms of optics, the World Cup appears poised to close a chapter that began in Sochi for Putin.
Days after the closing ceremony at the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics, the Russian government launched the annexation of the Crimean peninsula from Ukraine, sparking a major international crisis and crippling economic sanctions against Moscow. The downing of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 in eastern Ukraine further deepened Russia’s isolation, as did Putin’s military intervention in Syria and the meddling in the 2016 US presidential elections.
The Sochi Olympics also cast a shadow over Russian sport. An independent WADA-commissioned report said the Russians operated a state-sponsored doping program during the Sochi games. As a result, Russia was banned as a nation from the PyeongChang Winter Olympics, although clean Russian athletes were able to compete under the Olympic flag.
Now Putin is presiding over a moment of international Russophilia, at least by appearances. The games have not been marred by fan violence or — knock on wood — by terrorism. Images of fans celebrating on the streets of Moscow and other Russian cities cast the country in a festive light. And on the geopolitical front, the Russian President will crown the World Cup by meeting US President Donald Trump in Helsinki on July 16, the day after the final.

Putin and Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev attend the opening ceremony of the World Cup.

Artem Dzyuba of Russia celebrates after scoring a goal in a match against Saudi Arabia.

As yet, the agenda remains quite general. Questioned by CNN about the topics for a summit with Putin, Bolton added that the “full range of issues between the two countries” would be discussed in the summit, including the annexation of Crimea, a matter that the Kremlin considers closed, despite scant international recognition of the move.
Pressed on the wisdom of a holding a summit when Russia has not changed any of the behavior for which it has been sanctioned, Bolton said:
“The fact is that it’s important for the leaders of those two countries to meet. There are a wide range of issues, despite the differences between us, where both President Trump and President Putin think they may be able to find constructive solutions. I’d like to hear someone say ‘That’s a bad idea.'”
That’s not the only important hint of international goodwill toward Putin. A group of Republican US senators is heading to Russia next week, another high-level visit that happens against the background of the World Cup.
And the World Cup final on July 15 gives Putin another opportunity to play the role of statesman: The Russian leader has invited Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to attend the match. While Netanyahu has not yet responded to the invitation, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas has already confirmed his attendance.
Like the Trump-Putin summit, it’s hard to say if a possible three-way meeting between Putin, Abbas, and Netanyahu will be long on symbolism and short on substance. Russia remains under sanctions, and US-Russian relations are still extremely frosty. But in terms of photo opportunities, the World Cup has provided a most excellent backdrop.
Russian election meddling is likely to remain front and center in US-Russian relations. The Kremlin has a mirror-image view of the matter — Putin accuses the West of trying to meddle in Russian domestic politics, and denies interfering in foreign elections — and it is hard to imagine Washington and Moscow finding common ground.
Dmitri Trenin, the director of the Carnegie Moscow Center and one of the leading observers of US-Russian relations, suggested the two countries offer up at least some symbolic gesture to give the summit a bit more legitimacy.
“To blunt likely criticism of the coming US-Russia summit it would make sense for the Kremlin and the WH to publicly state that interference with the vote counting mechanisms in either country is inadmissible,” he wrote on Twitter. “Truly, interference makes no sense.”

Donald Trump on Cristiano Ronaldo: They say he is the greatest ever

Great. Greatest. Two words often repeated by Donald Trump.
Except this time the US President wasn’t talking about how America is doing domestically or on the global stage.

Instead he was speaking about footballer Cristiano Ronaldo during a meeting with Portuguese President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa at the White House.
“…They say he is the greatest player” said Trump, echoing the thoughts of fans all over the world who are constantly debating whether Ronaldo is better than Barcelona and Argentina star Leo Messi, when reminded of the Real Madrid forward’s qualities by Rebelo de Sousa.
Portugal’s forward Cristiano Ronaldo celebrates scoring his third goal during the Russia 2018 World Cup Group B football match between Portugal and Spain.
Ronaldo has had an impressive World Cup, scoring four goals in three games and helping Portugal qualify for a last-16 clash with Uruguay on Saturday at Russia 2018.
“So, tell me, how good a player is he?” asked Trump. “Are you impressed?”
“I’m very much impressed. He’s the best player [in] the world,” enthused Rebelo de Sousa, adding he believes the World Cup has been “a success for the world.”
Ronaldo for President?
Trump’s youngest son Barron — a member of DC United’s development academy — “knows all about” the Portuguese superstar, according to the US President.
“So will Christian [sic] ever run for president against you?” Trump asked De Sousa. “He wouldn’t win! You know he won’t win?”
The Portuguese politician paused for thought, before grabbing Trump’s arm. “Well, President, you know [there’s] something I must tell you: Portugal is not the United States. It’s a little different!”
Trump and his son will soon have the chance to watch the very best players in the flesh, though Ronaldo will probably have hung up his boots by then — in 2026 the US will host the World Cup with Canada and Mexico.

World Cup 2018: England lose 10 to Belgium in final group game

World Cup 2018: England 0-1 Belgium highlights

England will face Colombia in the last 16 of the World Cup after a spectacular strike by Adnan Januzaj ensured Belgium finished top of Group G.

Gareth Southgate made eight changes from England’s win against Panama, while opposite number Roberto Martinez made nine alterations – proving victory was not exactly the top priority as the tournament moves towards the knockout phase.

That was illustrated by a largely mediocre, lifeless encounter in Kaliningrad that was settled by Januzaj’s goal six minutes after the break, the former Manchester United attacker cutting inside before curling a left-foot finish high past Jordan Pickford.

England – who desperately missed absent captain and leading World Cup scorer Harry Kane – barely threatened, though Marcus Rashford should have equalised, Belgium keeper Thibaut Courtois touching his effort wide after he ran clear.

Southgate must now reflect on England’s first loss at this World Cup as he prepares to face the dangerous Colombians in Moscow on Tuesday at 19:00 BST, while Belgium go to Rostov to play Japan on Monday.

England can now plot their route ahead

The build-up to this game was played out in the context of who would top the group – with the suggestion finishing second might provide an easier route than winning Group G.

It was clear three points was hardly the top priority for either manager, and the changes occasionally threatened to reduce the game to a farce – the first half ending in a chorus of jeering.

Should England beat Colombia, led by striker Radamel Falcao, there is the prospect of facing either Sweden or Switzerland.

But the South Americans will pose a real threat and only time will tell if England and Southgate will regret not going harder for the greater glory of victory.
Watch: Batshuayi hits ball into own face
England lame without Kane

Southgate kept Kane back for bigger battles ahead – but this laboured, unthreatening defeat him with much food for thought.

Jamie Vardy and Rashford were entrusted with attacking duties. They both worked hard but England’s lack of penetration only emphasised their heavy reliance, some would argue over-reliance, on the captain and talisman.

Kane is the tournament’s leading scorer with five goals and has not yet been the beneficiary of a reliable supply line, two goals resulting from corners, two from penalties and another a deflection from Ruben Loftus-Cheek’s shot to complete his hat-trick in the 6-1 win against Panama.

He is the central figure in England’s World Cup ambitions, the leader on and off the pitch and a striker every defence at this tournament would be anxious about facing.

Southgate’s reluctance to throw Kane into the action, even when England were losing and posing little danger, was perhaps an even bigger indicator of just how important he feels he will be in the knockout stage.

Vardy and Rashford did their best, and may make contributions further down the line, but toothless England proved here that they simply cannot do without Kane.
Tough night for England’s stand-ins

Southgate gave several members of England’s squad who have been on the margins the chance to at least catch his eye.

Eric Dier’s importance was emphasised by his selection as captain in the absence of Kane and deputy Jordan Henderson – but this was not a night he will look back on with satisfaction.

Dier struggled, particularly in the first half, looking off the pace and giving away cheap possession. He did nothing to threaten Henderson’s status as Southgate’s main midfield pivot.

Vardy and Rashford did not do enough to place Raheem Sterling in peril, even though he has gone 22 England games without a goal.

It was also a difficult night for first-choice goalkeeper Pickford, who was largely unemployed in the wins against Tunisia and Panama.

Pickford had only picked the ball out of the net in those games, having no chance with either goal, but here he looked a little ring-rusty and was fortunate to get away with spilling the ball early on when Gary Cahill cleared Michy Batshuayi’s shot off the line.

It was his busiest game in the World Cup so far – and Southgate must hope he will be better for the experience.

Cahill was solid, while Danny Rose and Trent Alexander-Arnold showed Southgate can rely on them – but England’s first-choice World Cup line-up will still have a familiar look against Colombia.
Martinez’s Belgium a huge threat

Martinez made the bizarre, although some would say brutally realistic, claim before kick-off that winning was not his priority in this final group match.

However, he did get the victory to top the group and face Japan in the last 16, and some of the flashes from his team demonstrated the strength he has at his disposal.

This was a Belgium side without Romelu Lukaku, Eden Hazard, Kevin de Bruyne, Toby Alderweireld, Jan Vertonghen, Axel Witsel and Dries Mertens, to name but seven, in their starting line-up.

And yet, when they actually wanted to, they raised their game to a level beyond England.

If Martinez can bring this squad to the right pitch at the right time, this is potentially a World Cup-winning side.
Learned a lot from the game – Southgate

England manager Gareth Southgate: “I thought the game was a really good test for us. We knew the level was going to be higher than we’ve had even with teams making changes. Belgium had controlled possession in our back third and we found it tough to press, but in terms of chances, we were fairly even.

“I think we’ve learned a lot from the game. It will be a good game to go and review. The objective was a mid-term one. We’ve got everybody time on the pitch and they’re ready to come in, those that hadn’t previously played, and we’ve protected those who had.”

Belgium head coach Roberto Martinez: “We want everyone in Belgium to be very, very proud of this team. Every player is looking forward to being on the pitch and we looking forward to facing anyone in front of us.”
Man of the match – Trent Alexander-Arnold (England)

Alexander-Arnold became just the fourth teenager to make a World Cup start for England
Off-target England – the stats

Belgium have now won their past seven World Cup group stage games. They had won just eight of their previous 24 at this stage of the competition.
Belgium have won all three of their group stage games in consecutive World Cup appearances, the first nation to do so since both Argentina and the Netherlands in 2010 and 2014.
Belgium are just the third team to have a 100% win ratio at this World Cup, after Uruguay and Croatia.
This is the first World Cup match that England failed to score in that didn’t finish 0-0 since losing 1-0 against Portugal in 1986.
England had 11 shots in this match but failed to score. They also had 11 shots in their previous match against Panama, scoring six times.
Adnan Januzaj’s goal was his first for Belgium in his ninth appearance for the national side.
Danny Welbeck’s appearance from the bench means that England have used all 20 outfield players in the 2018 World Cup.